Wednesday, November 15, 2006

11/15/06 The world's worst advice

Lots of time waiting in doctor's offices means reading lots of magazines. Are the people who write these actually parents, and of real kids?

"Parenting" magazine, November 2006, page 112. A sidebar called "household shortcuts" includes this one:

" *Have dinner and a bath. [...] When I really need downtime, I hurry the bedtime process by giving my girls supper while they're in the tub. [...]"

November issue of "Parents" magazine:

* Used clothing is fine, except used sleepwear since many washings can degrade the fabric's flame retardent.

Will someone PLEASE explain to me the importance of flame-retardent fabric in sleepwear? Exactly how much longer can this fabric withstand exposure to flame? Does the answer to that really matter in terms of fire protection? I mean really, if the flame retardent buys you an extra 10 seconds, isn't your baby in grave immediate fire danger? Why only sleepwear and not all other clothes? Have baby lives actually been saved by this stuff? My guess is that it has to do with smokers, and once again, a flame retardent fabric will do very little to protect an infant from a parent stupid enough to smoke and drop ashes on the kid. Why don't these magazines ask these questions instead of repeating the advice verbatim?

* If a child sulks or throws a tantrum when they are suffering a consequence for a bad behavior, simply REMIND them that they wouldn't be in this predicament if they hadn't misbehaved in the first place.

OH PLEASE! Right! Gabriel -- and even Julian -- will just drop his attitude, see the error in his ways, rationally understand that he himself is the cause of his misfortune, and will immediately revoke his fury at me for the consequence, and will carefully consider his behavior in the future. Does ANYONE have a kid like that?! (OK, maybe cousin Aidan, but I'll bet Steph would say even he won't capitulate every time.) Heck, I have a hard time getting Dave to see cause-and-effect in his actions sometimes; my 4-year-old is supposed to get it just from a REMINDER?!

* No ATVs until at least 16. Surprisingly, helmets don't protect kids from injury.

NO KIDDING! Did someone actually believe a helmet was a protect-all? Of course not. It's an absolutely necessary thing, but not nearly sufficient for safety. And yeah, riding an ATV can be dangerous. I'm surprised they didn't say anything about motorcycles. But why stop there? Skiing, horse-backriding, rock-climbing, shortage of risky fun things to do...or not. A little snippet picking on ATVs isn't sufficient to discuss the risk-benefit tradeoffs that all individuals, and parents, must consider for any number of activities.

Why am I ranting here...there's SO much silly stuff in those magazines it's really a waste of time. And in fairness, occasionally I find a good piece of advice, or a good snack recipe or something.

But nothing beats the "time-saving" advice to give your kids dinner in the bathtub!


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